Cover Image: Serpentine

Serpentine

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Serpentine by Jonathan Kellerman brings murder and disappearances to the 36th book in the Alex Delaware series. It’s a combination of mystery and suspense in a police procedural. The books are also very cerebral in nature.

Los Angeles Police Lieutenant Milo Sturgis and psychologist Dr. Alex Delaware team up again when Milo is given a 36-year old unsolved cold case, for which the original file is missing. Dorothy Swoboda was found in a burned out car and the coroner’s report showed she had also been shot. Ellie Barker, who made a fortune in exercise wear, is her daughter and was raised by her stepfather after Dorothy died. When attending a society function, she mentioned she wants to find out who killed her mother and soon a deputy chief of police is assigning it to Milo. But after 36 years, who is even still alive to be investigated? Where is the missing murder book? With no physical evidence, how can they solve the case?

Milo and Alex have been friends for years and while they often approach cases from different standpoints, their investigative and cognitive techniques gel as well as their dispositions, and they keep the cases fresh, entertaining and moving along. The way they bounce ideas off of each other feels natural. At this stage of the series, the main characters are well known to this reader and have depth. Some new secondary characters show up as well as some that have been in previous books to keep things interesting. 

The writing style flowed well and I knew I was back with old friends.  Kellerman’s writing is polished and appealing, doing a good job of transporting me to the Los Angeles area. Whether they are talking about or experiencing the traffic or food or the people, I was living the events with Milo and Alex. The story had several twists and there were a couple of surprises at the end. It was definitely not predictable to me. Will you be shocked by the culprit’s identity? 

Overall, this was a story that quickly drew me into Milo and Alex’s world and their latest case. It was an engaging read with a solid mystery to unravel. 

I recommend it to those that enjoy the series and cerebral procedurals. I don’t recommend jumping into this series at number 36, though. Start earlier in the series to have the best reading experience. I have read over 20 books in the series and plan to read them all. They’re never disappointing.

 I received a complimentary copy of this book from Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine and Jonathan Kellerman via NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own and are not biased in any way. Publication date is currently set for February 2, 2021. This review was originally posted at Mystery and Suspense Magazine.
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LAPD homicide lieutenant Milo Sturgis has occasion to call his friend, psychologist Alex Delaware, for help on the cold case for which he has been saddled.  The decades old murder has been investigated throughout the years, though very little evidence has been gathered.  Will a little luck following a small clue be enough for the case to finally be solved?

Having read all of the previous novels involving the crackpot team of Delaware and Sturgis, the eventual outcome of the case was predetermined by the formula that the author tends to follow.  I did like that there were small mentions regarding Delaware's primary profession, as I miss the child psychology cases that were the hallmark of the early novels.  Serpentine did not really hold my interest and I struggled to keep reading throughout the middle section.  The case was just not that interesting this time and the personal life fillers (for example, the different restaurants they visit or mentions of their significant others) were not that exciting.  Serpentine is a solid read, but does not do much to advance the characters or the world in which they live.

Disclaimer: I was given an Advanced Reader's Copy of Serpentine by NetGalley and the publisher, Ballantine Books.  The choice to review this book was my own.
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The latest in Jonathan Kellerman's Alex Delaware series is no disappointment! The series stars several characters, that have grown in number through the years. The main character, Dr. Alex Delaware, is a psychologist who is a professor at a local medical school. He is also a significant consultant that is brought into the local law enforcement by Lieutenant Detective Milo Sturgis, when there are unusual or challenging aspects to a case. In this latest installment, the difficulty from the beginning, is that this case is as cold as they come. It has been brought to the attention of the police department because a grown daughter who lost her mother as a baby is interested in trying to find out the truth. She happens to be at an event that and is overheard by someone with enough clout to make the contact for her. 
There are twists and turns throughout this book and it keeps the plot moving in great and unexpected ways. There is some repetition of comments or events that seem to be unnecessary, but this maybe a proof issue and cleaned up for the final edition. 
This can be read as a standalone without missing the story at all. I have probably read all of the books in this series and I find the characters and their interactions to be like comfort food.
Highly recommend and nothing less than expected. Fun and engrossing read.
#Serpentine #NetGalley #RandomHousePublishingBooks #BallantineBooks
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This is part of the series (#36). It could be read as a standalone, but it would probably be best to at least be familiar with some of the prior books.

Alex Delaware, a child psychologist, and his partner Milo Sturgis are trying to solve a thirty-year-old murder case. The banter between the two leads is enjoyable, as always. While I figured some things out, there were a couple surprise twists. These books are never gory. It was enjoyable, but it wasn't anything extraordinary. Just a nice read overall.
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*Thank you to Ballantine, Jonathan Kellerman, and NetGalley for an ARC of this book for an honest review*

Jonathan Kellerman makes me want to read books again. He can just do no wrong!

This is the 36th Alex Delaware book, and it just keeps better, just like a fine wine. The very definition of Serpentine means "move or lie in a winding path or line". Mr Kellerman could not have picked a better title befitting this book. There are so many twists and turns, sometimes it's hard to figure out who is who.

Milo, Delaware's best friend and constant companion, is forced into accepting a 36yo cold case. Money talks and multi-millionaire Ellie Barker wants to know who her Mother was and why she was killed. An orphan now, Ellie has been raised by her Stepfather and would like to know more about her past. From the descriptions of Old Hollywood to the beautiful homes of Los Angeles, everything is aptly put together to solve a murder and give Ellie some peace. Little does she know the surprises she is in for!

There is so much to be enjoyed about the Alex Delaware series. It is consistent, so well written, and always surprises the reader. I enjoy Alex's relationship with his long-time lover, Robin, and his steady friendship with Milo. I gave this 5 stars because Jonathan Kellerman knows how to write a book!
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I loved this book. I really like when authors use law enforcement it makes the whole book so exciting.  I cant wait for the next read by this author
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Another Jonathan Kellerman book about my one of my favorite heroes of all time--Alex Delaware, and I am so glad.   Although the pattern of the Delaware books is almost always the same, there is some comfort in that as Mr. Kellerman roots around in the depths of human despair and  criminal psyche.  This book is no different than all the others, and the reader knows that there is always a bittersweet ending, but yet I couldn't quit swiping the pages (reading on a kindle) until I got to the very end.  If you like Kellerman's Delaware books, you will love this one.
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When LAPD detective Milo Sturgis struggles with a case, he brings in his friend and psychologist, Alex Delaware. In Serpentine, Sturgis is given a cold case that has remained unsolved for decades - a woman with a bullet in head, burned in a car off the side of a mountain. Nothing about the case is easy - the investigation was prompted by a mega-rich woman who mentioned her mother's mysterious death to someone with PD connections. With no witnesses, clues, or anything to go off of, Sturgis and Delaware set out to solve this seemingly unsolvable case. But, as they dig deeper, they learn there are people who prefer the case stay cold. 

In his 36th Alex Delaware novel, author Jonathan Kellerman reminds the reader why his books have stood the test of time. While many authors often become formulaic in their writing, Kellerman continues to write novels that keep the reader on the edge of their seat and working till the last minute to solve the who done it question.
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This is, Jonathan Kellerman’s 365th book, and I’ve read them all.  This is one of the better ones. The victim was found dead in her car on Mulholland Highway. There was nothing to lead to any suspects. Unfortunately for Milo, this murder was decades old. He opened the cold case in order to assist the wealthy victim’s daughter.  Of course, just as  it seems like the book might be very dry, the plot picks up and goes in directions it was impossible to guess
I highly recommend this book, 5 stars.
Thanks to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine and NetGalley for the ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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This is the continuation of the Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis team solving crimes that are out of the ordinary realm. This one involves a very old cold case. I have only read a couple of the Alex Delaware novels, but my goal is to go back and read all of the at some point. Fans of Kellerman will not be disappointed in this book.

I received a free Kindle copy of this book courtesy of Net Galley and the publisher with the understanding that I would post a review on Net Galley, Goodreads, Amazon and my nonfiction book review blog. I also posted it to my Facebook page.
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This is the 36th entry into the Alex Delaware series, and it’s still going strong. Lucky me, I read it free. My thanks go to Net Galley and Random House Ballantine for the review copy. It will be available to the public February 2, 2021. 

Milo Sturgis, the only gay detective in Los Angeles, has been ordered to take up a very cold case. Money talks, and big money talks loudest. A massively wealthy young woman wants to know what really happened to her mother, and who her biological father was. Ellie Barker was raised by her stepfather, who left her everything, and now that he’s gone, there’s no reason not to go digging for information about the things he didn’t like to talk about. Milo does an eye-roll and reaches for his phone. He thinks it would be better to have a psychologist along, and so once again, Alex joins him on the case. 

The case is a complex one, and it also holds a lot of surprises, especially at the end. There’s a side character named Winifred Gaines, “equine laugh” and all, that I enjoy greatly. 

I’m going to use this opportunity to share some reflections on the series as a whole. At the outset, clear back in the single digits of the series, the focus was mostly on Alex, and on children. Since Kellerman is a child psychologist, this format gave him an excellent chance to showcase his professional knowledge by incorporating troubled children or adolescents into the plot. I always learned something when he did this, and it was riveting. 

Over the course of the series, children have become thinner on the ground. Perhaps this is because Kellerman has used up his reserves, but I don’t think so, somehow. It’s a mighty rich field, and as far as I know, he has it all to himself in terms of long-running series. This time, there are a few references to how children might behave under particular circumstances, and there’s a brief mention of a custody case Alex is working on, which is not central to the plot, but I nevertheless learned something just from the tiny little fragment he snuck into the story. I fervently wish that he would incorporate more child psychology and less kinky sex into his series now. If that makes me sound like a bluestocking, I’ll live with that. 

What he has done that I like is build Milo into a more central character. Earlier in the series, Delaware was the central protagonist, and he and his girlfriend Robin—the sort of girlfriend that seems more like a wife—had some ups and downs. They separated at one point, then reunited. It did make them seem more like real people to me. Now, both of them are static and bland, but they provide a neutral backdrop for us to see Milo in action. And I have to admit, it works for me. Right from the get-go, Milo, who has a large appetite, comes lumbering into Alex and Robin’s kitchen, flings open the fridge, and starts making himself the mother of all sandwiches, and I realize that I am smiling widely. What an agreeable character! There’s a point about a third of the way in, where another guy stands up and Milo takes his seat, and “the couch shifted like a lagoon accommodating an ocean liner.” I just love it. There are a couple of allusions toward the end that hint that Milo may be experiencing some health issues that are common to large folk, but there’s no way that this character will die; not unless Kellerman wants to kill of his protagonists as part of an authorial retirement. 

When all is said and done, this is a solid mystery from a solid series. Can you read it as a stand-alone? You can. However, you may become addicted and find yourself seeking out the others as well. 

Recommended to all that love the genre.
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This is the Jonathan Kellerman I know and LOVE! Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and the author for this advance copy in exchange for an honest review. :-)

Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis are back, working together on a 36-year-old cold case.  After being handed this assignment from the higher-ups, the two set off on a journey that gives them more than they bargained for. 

I love the way this dream team works together to make sense of the clues and countless twists and turns of the complicated (but worth it) plot.  Overall, I really enjoyed this book and I cannot wait for #37! I
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Psychologist Alex Delaware and LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis work together on a cold case from thirty-six years ago. The pressure is on from higher up to for Milo to close this case that several homicide detectives before him couldn’t solve. They continue to run into dead ends while investigating this decades old case, but their questions have someone in the present very nervous so they realize they may be closer to the truth than they thought. 

Serpentine is another winner in the Alex Delaware series by Jonathan Kellerman. Kellerman knows how to keep each book in this consistently excellent series fresh. I have read them all, but this book would be equally enjoyable for new readers. Psychologist Alex Delaware and LAPD Lieutenant Milo Sturgis are a dream team for solving crimes. They are able to take minimal facts and find details that provide clues on a case that seemed like it would be impossible to solve. They have some help from some old friends who will be familiar to those who follow the series. The side characters who appear as witnesses and potential suspects are interesting and make the book even better. In addition, the details about the Los Angeles setting that are included throughout the book help bring the story to life. 

The plot of this book is intriguing and has enough twists to keep readers engaged in the story from the beginning to the end. I really felt sorry for Ellie who just wanted to know the truth behind her mother’s death and ends up finding out so much more when details about the long-ago murder are revealed. I was very surprised at the twists this plot took. There is a lot of tragedy in the story, so the ending isn’t completely happy for all involved, but it is satisfying. I would rate the book 4.5 stars.

I received this ebook from NetGalley through the courtesy of Random House/Ballantine. An advance copy was provided to me at no cost, but my review is voluntary and unbiased.
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I've read all thirty-six 'Alex Delaware' novels, and I've enjoyed them all.

Unlike some long-time series (::ahem:: I'm looking at you Patricia Cornwell and Kay Scarpetta), this one hasn't devolved into crap. In fact, it's pretty much the same now as when it first started.

Admittedly, some things are becoming a bit repetitive...Alex walking to Robin's studio to check in twenty-four times during the book, their way too lovey-dovey relationship, and the eternal restaurant scenes where Alex moderates and Milo gorges.

I've also noticed in these last few books that Alex has a pretty flat affect. He's so controlled, and in psychologist-mode so often, I want to scream at him to "loosen the eff up." On the other hand, Milo is still a total spark plug, and if I'm being honest, he's the main reason I still read these books. Serpentine was particularly heavy on the Milo, so I quite enjoyed it.

I do think there were a few too many characters...I had a hard time keeping track of everyone, but this is a solid mystery, which kept me turning the pages late into the night.

3.5 stars rounded up
Available February 2, 2021

My sincere thanks to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine for my review copy.
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Milo and Alex are the couple for 2020!!! Staying power, friendship, wit and determination as well as humor. I love these two guys and will not miss a chance to catch up on their investigations!!!
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A huge thank you to NetGalley, Random House-Ballantine books and Jonathan Kellerman for the chance to read Serpentine in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Alex i called in to see what he thinks of the latest case Milo has been assigned, a long cold case that has gone nowhere for more than 30 years. As only Alex and Milo can do, they begin to pull at one thread after another until the find a way to unravel secrets from many years. You would think that the characters would get tired or stale after so many years but, the author manages to keep everything current and fresh and engaging with every book. I am already telling others they need to pick up this book as soon as it is released. You will not be disappointed!
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This book is the definition of a mystery.  A cold case that ran for the longest time unsolved. The characters were quirky and full of colors. The story does drag at some point and moves very slowly. The ending was nothing spectacular, but it does satisfy the mysterious cloud that builds up the story.

Thank you to Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine and NetGalley for letting me read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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As always Kellerman does not dissapoint.  I have actually started recoemnded his books to friends and family, because the books really dont need to be read in order, nor do you need to know any back story for a single book to make sense.  Kellerman does an amazing job yet again giving readers just enough backstory for each character.  As soon as I started reading Serpentine I could not put it down, I HAD to know what was happening next.  I love a good page turner and this gets top marks for that!!
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Serpentine is Book 36 in the Alex Delaware series from Jonathan Kellerman.

"Milo gets a cold case and calls Alex to help. A wealthy woman wants to know the story of her mother and thinks it is linked to a decades-old murder. A woman was found in a burned out car with a bullet hole in her head. No witnesses, no evidence and no answers from any of the detectives that worked it before. And the more they uncover - the more it seems like there's still danger..."

This is the first cold-case that Milo has worked. And it's atypical for most cold-cases. No DNA - just old-fashioned detective work. Kellerman always looks at the deeper psychology of a killer. Why did this happen? And the monsters are often hiding in plain sight, just like they are here in Serpentine. Took me a bit to get my head around all of the names and characters in the case, but once I did I was hooked. The last third is fast-paced with a surprising twist and ending. I love the bits about Robin and her work with guitars (really any stringed instrument)

Another great story from Kellerman.
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In Serpentine by Jonathan Kellerman, Alex Delaware and Milo Sturgis continue to make a great team in solving a decades old case.
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